Graduate Medical Education program at John A. Burns School of Medicine provides specialty training to new physicians

Producing highly skilled, competent specialty physicians

Sponsored by the John A. Burns School of Medicine and University Health Partners of Hawaii

We all want to know that the physicians we see are at the top of their specialty and have the best training and skills possible. That’s where Graduate Medical Education (GME) comes in for those who have graduated from medical school. Academic specialty training programs are a chance to hone their skills and get up to date on the latest evidence and research in the specialty of their choice.

“Successful completion of an accredited GME training program is required to become eligible for specialty board certification,” Dr. Lee Buenconsejo-Lum explains. Dr. Buenconsejo-Lum is the GME director at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). “Certification demonstrates a physician’s exceptional expertise in a particular specialty or subspecialty of medical practice.”

Dr. Buenconsejo-Lum says the programs are extremely important to assure that the medical school is producing highly skilled, competent specialty physicians. The training during residency and fellowship occurs under the supervision of experienced faculty physicians. Learning by direct care of patients is complemented by instruction through lectures, seminars and simulation labs. Residency and fellowship training prepares physicians for independent practice and board certification.

JABSOM sponsors many of the core residency programs and some fellowships – 19 in total. About 230 physicians annually receive training and clinical experience in the specialties of family medicine, sports medicine, internal medicine, cardiology, geriatric medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, maternal-fetal medicine, complex family planning, orthopedic surgery, pathology, pediatrics, neonatal-perinatal medicine, general psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, addiction medicine, general surgery and surgical critical care.

“The road to becoming a doctor is very long and arduous,” Dr. Buenconsejo-Lum says.

Medical school (the MD Degree) is the first formal step to becoming a board-certified physician. In the 3rd and 4th year of medical school, students decide what type of doctor they want to become. They then apply to a residency program in that specialty. If they want to further subspecialize after residency, then they apply to complete a fellowship.

Residency is 3-6 years of hands-on, supervised training that must be completed in order to become a board-certified licensed physician. If a person then chooses to do a fellowship, there is another 1-3 years or training. That being said, the commitment to become a doctor can be anywhere from 7-13 years after college. However, you want your physician to maintain their skills, knowledge and board certification, so physicians have a commitment to life-long learning.

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